How to get a job in marketing

Some tips and advice on how to get a job in marketing, whether a graduate or not, from industry experts in marketing. I spoke to them about work experience, candidate attitudes and what they look for in a CV. Take a look to see what they had to say.

This all started from some posts I did early on in the year, about how to get a job in marketing. I spoke to the likes of innocent, Rolls-Royce, Procter & Gamble and IBM to talk about what they look for in future talent and to pick their brains on how to get a job in marketing. I’ve condensed all their advice, tips and insight into the below five areas.

CV

One of the first points everyone mentioned was that they look for a clear, concise CV. One page is ideal, but you can get away with two pages. Three pages or more and the instant assumption is that your communication skills are bad and your CV won’t even get looked at.

Competition for marketing roles is also extremely high, so recruiters have to be ruthless when shortlisting CV’s. Spelling errors were the top reason for a CV not getting selected, followed by listing a “bubbly personality” as a trait, or “socialising” as an interest. These were all areas which made recruiters think twice about an applicants suitability for the role.

Favoured CV’s are the type which are written in a straight forward, natural way, not filled with jargon. When writing about your role at previous companies, don’t just list your responsibilities, but give clear examples of what you achieved and what value it brought to the company. Also tailor to your CV to the particular role, Recruiters and Managers want to hear about your experiences match the skills for the role, so make sure you take the time to tailor it as much as you can.

Finally, don’t hand in a segmented CV, only include roles which apply to the job you’re going for. Your potential interviewers like to see a structure and that you’re focused, drifting from sales, to HR to marketing doesn’t fill them with confidence that you can settle or that you know what you want to do.

Experience

To even get a look in at being interviewed, go get some experience. This is some of the best advice on how to get a job in marketing. Work experience and placements are some of the best ways to prove yourself, gain industry knowledge and build on the valuable skills you’ll need. When you are on placement don’t just do what’s expected of you, go above and beyond and be someone they will either want to keep on, or ask to come back at a later stage.

“We hire the person, not the position.”

Network constantly; keep in touch with Managers from your placements, attend industry events, make contacts on LinkedIn and strike up conversations. The saying goes “it’s not what you know but who you know” and this is so often very true, you never know when you might meet someone who is looking for somebody with the skills and qualities you already have.

Attitude

Whether on placement, in an interview or in your cover letter and CV, attitude is everything. Everyone I spoke to said 9 times out of 10 they “hire the person, not the position” or “hire for the attitude, train for the skills”. In other words, your skills and qualifications aren’t (if you even have any, it doesn’t matter if you don’t) aren’t everything. Managers would rather hire someone for their passion, enthusiasm, willingness to learn and can do attitude, than for their skills and knowledge. You can train skills, but you can’t teach passion.

At every opportunity you get, show that you live the values of the brand and that you have brought positive contributions to your previous employers and will continue to do so at future opportunities. Everyone I spoke to said it may be hard work to prove yourself at the beginning, but you don’t get anything for you, you get back what you put in. Take the lead, don’t wait to be asked and show some initiative, it will get picked up.

Online

Another part of the shortlisting process for Recruiters is online research. Your potential employer can find out everything they need to know about you via your online presence, so keep a healthy profile on Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. Don’t slag off your job or your boss, because that will make them think twice about hiring you. Also, people fall under the pretence that because their Facebook profile is set to “private” they’re safe from anyone viewing anything about them. Strictly that’s not quite true – just because your profile is set to private, doesn’t mean your profile picture can’t be viewed.

Everyone I spoke to said they liked seeing a healthy online presence, in fact they favour it over people not having a presence at all. However, they have come across many “private” Facebook profiles, but where the profile picture shows the applicant in poor light or the image is somehow related to partying or alcohol. Having a negative profile picture is enough to make an employer think twice about your suitability and not consider you for selection. Think about what you’re putting out there.

“We look for people who are genuinely passionate and interested in this industry.”

Interests

Finally, show some interests. Not just things that make you interesting as a person, but also show your interests in the industry, whether you keep a blog, read, attend events etc… One Marketing Manager I spoke to said “marketing is not for theorists, we look for people who are genuinely passionate and interested in this industry.”

The above five points are all key areas for how to get a job in marketing and how managers select applicants, so please don’t take the information lightly. Think about what they’ve said and how you can take their advice on board. If you have any questions or you’re unsure about how to get a job in marketing, either leave a comment below or let me know on Twitter and I’ll be happy to help you out.